This curriculum development project focuses on a central issue in pholosophy today..... once Western philosophy is opened to include a wide diversity of ways of thinking (as opposed to the more traditional linear mode of Westernt hought), is communication
among these ways of thinking still possible?
Furthermore, how is evaluation possible among these diverse ways of thinking? How do different logical forms of thinking and non-logical forms of thinking arrive at some sort of agreement?
The same problem exists for multiculturalism: any historical event can be seen from differing perspectives such as the White European male perspective, the Native American perspective, the Black perspective, or a Women's Studies perspective. Given that any historical event can have a whole range of clashing perspectives and interpretations, how do these perspectives communicate with each other? Is there a way to determine whether one perspective or interpretation is more adequate thananother? The same problem occurs on a global scale with respect to teh clash ofinterantioanl or transcultural perspectives. One perspective may bebasedon story-telling, another on logical principles, and yet another onmythical thinking.
This leads to the two fundamental questions addressed inthisproject and incorporated into the Introduction to Philosophy course:
- How does transcultural communication take place among differing perspectives (and how can it be improved)?
- Is there a way to assess these differing perspectives and evaluate them without setting up one as authoritative over the others?
Research to revise lecture notes and class sessions which reflects the incorporation of the problem of transcultural communication into the syllabus as a whole. Selection of various media such as web sites, videotapes, audiotapes, etc. to facilitate the students' thoughtful engagement of the problem.
Frank Edler, firstname.lastname@example.org, (402) 457-2613
"Shapespeare in the Bush."
This project involved the development of an on-line collaborative writing project with the two-fold purpose:
- To make interntional content the focus of a major requirement for the course.
- To relate that international content to philosophical problems and issues developed in the course.
The writing project will consist of groups of students developing, researching and writing individual papers collaboratively on philosophical issues and problems related to Laura Bohannon's essay "Shapespeare in the Bush." Her essay describes her attempt to narrate the story of Hamlet to members of the Tiv tribe in Nigeria and the transformations the play undergoes in order to make it intelligible in relation to the world of the Tiv. The writing project, which will bei in continuous development as the course proceeds, will engage international content in a number of ways:
- All papers must be based in some way on Bohannan's essay and, thus, must engage the problem of international or transcultural cummunication.
- All students will be expected to e-mail students at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, to get more information on the Tiv tribe and engage in dialogue that may further their understanding of Nigeria.
- A number of the philosophical issues and themes that may be used by groups for their writing project have international significance. For example, one theme is "Language and Cultural Identity" which is an important issue today for many African and Third World ountries insofar as they are seeking postcolonial identities.
Frank Edler, email@example.com, (402)457-2661